Book Reviews
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Book Review: SILENT SCREAM

DETAILS

Title: SILENT SCREAM
Author: Angela Marsons
Publisher: Zaffre
ISBN: 9781785770524
Genre: Crime Fiction

BACK COVER BLURB

Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …

Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

WHAT I THOUGHT

First of all, let me say that reading SILENT SCREAM so soon after reading Glass Houses by Louise Penny, might have been a mistake. Given I was on such a high from reading a story that had so much going on, that it held me in its thrall.

By half way through Silent Scream, I wanted to do jus that: SCREAM!

Here is a book that promises so much, but fails to deliver on every level. This is for all intents and purposes a police procedural, and not a very good one at that. To alleviate the plodding pros, the author does throw in a couple of very gruesome flashbacks. Each of which offers up a first person POV of a killer murdering two young women with glee. Sadistic, nasty, brutal and utterly unnecessary, these scenes are thrown at us to shock, plain and simple.

Slow, plodding, clichéd, with characters that are as flimsy as the paper they’re printed on. The main character of Detective Inspector Kim Stone, is as unsympathetic a character as they come, despite the author giving her a dreadful childhood, the character acts like the police version of the killer: cold and calculating. And though we see small flashes of empathy, here and there, there is little to endear us to this character. The rest pass through like ghosts, only there to deliver dialogue and exposition.

The premise of Silent Scream is sound, but the delivery lacks any depth, or punch. We’re driven from one crimes scene to another, one interview to the next, but the breadcrumbs, such as they are, don’t add up to half a slice of bread, let alone a fully fledged plot—or should I say, loaf of bread? I was constantly left wanting—wanting a plot and some decent characterization.

In the end, by the time Stone figures out who is doing the killing, I couldn’t care less.

Rating: 5 / 10

8 Comments

  1. Maybe she tried to keep the detective a little too mysterious and is the idea to get to know and sympathize more with her as the series (I think they’re at book 10 now) progresses? I’m sorry this one lacked on both fronts for you. I read this one too a few years ago and I don’t remember details anymore but I liked it and I’ve been wanting to read more of the series. I hear that her books go from strength to strength so maybe give another one a try at a better time and not after a 10/10 read?

    • I think a lot of the problem was because I just read a really good book, Inge, and yes, this one by comparison was lacking.

      I know an author can go from strength to strength, so I’ll wait awhile and maybe try another one later.

  2. Sorry to hear this one didn’t quite deliver, it’s always disappointing, especially when initial expectations are high.

    I had to take a reading break after I finished The Winter of the Witch – I was just not ready to read a book that would make me miss this one. It’s always tough to enjoy the next book after when we read a book that was so perfect for us. Crossing my fingers that your next choice is more enjoyable!

    • It’s not that I had high expectations, Vera. Just that, like you, I really should have taken a week off after reading Louise Penny, and then, chosen something completely different. I was probably a little too hard on SILENT SCREAM, I don’t know. It just left me feeling it was very amateurish.

      I’ve ordered The Bear and The Nightingale to read in my Feb Fantasy read. And wondering what else to pair with it for the month. 😀

      • I’m so excited about The Bear and the Nightingale – I honestly hope you will enjoy it. It is a slow read so maybe pairing it with something fast paced could be fun? The second book – The Girl in the Tower is much faster pace-wise but the first one is all about atmosphere. I always read nonfiction whenever I need a ‘book break’… that kind of focuses me and given how much pre-course read I have been doing these days, serve a purpose as well.

        I honestly think that we just cannot help comparing books with the ones we have read. I think it’s fair.

        • I don’t mind a slower pace if it’s all about building up the characters and atmosphere. And yes, it might be an idea to have fast and slow paced books as a change of rhythm. I’ll have to think about what books to choose.

          Oh, now that’s a good idea, reading something non-fiction as a break. Duh! Now why didn’t I think of that? 😉

          Yeah, it’s difficult to read back to back crime fiction and not make comparisons, I should have gone for a different genre. Ah, too late!

  3. Oh damn! I am so sorry that this book made you want to scream and not in a good way Alexandra! Maybe indeed reading this oen after an excellent book was a mistake. That’s often what happens to me when I have read a fantastic book. Right after nothing compares and it’s unfair for other books.
    On a side note I am going to follow you on IG because I keep ogling you side bar filled with pictures of SNOW! I am waiting on the snow LOL

    • Yes, it was probably my own fault, I should have gone for a completely different genre. I just have to remember that next time, right? 😉

      Oh, you want our snow? It’s alllll yours! No, seriously, take it. We have several feet of the fluffy white stuff, and more on the way. And cold? Oh my poor nose, is it cold … MINUS 30! Like to swap maybe? 😀

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